1. The purpose of this study was to assess the potential of various preservation solutions, originally designed for solid organs, to protect muscle function during cold storage.

2. The soleus (SOL) and the cutaneous trunci (CT) muscle from the rat were isolated and stored for 2, 4 or 8 h at 10°C. The solutions used, listed in order from an intracellular to an extracellular-like composition, were: University of Wisconsin (UW), Euro-Collins (EC), HTK-Bretschneider (HTK), reversed St. Thomas' Hospital (ST2) and Krebs-Henseleit (KH). After cold storage, the muscles were tested by direct electrical stimulation to obtain the maximum twitch tension (Pt) and the maximum tetanus tension (P0). Subsequently, the muscles were prepared for morphological analysis.

3. In general, storage at 10°C caused a gradual decrease of Pt and P0 with time. After 8 h of storage in the extracellular-like solutions KH and ST2, the P0 was about 50% (SOL) and 35% (CT) of control. Eight hours of storage in intracellular-like solutions resulted in a P0 of 50% of control for HTK, in a P0 of 40% (SOL) and 67% (CT) for UW, but in a P0 of 5% (SOL) and 26% (CT) for EC. These findings corresponded well with the morphological observations.

4. It is concluded that the effects of 10°C storage on skeletal muscle function are not predominantly determined by the intra- or extracellular-like composition of the solutions used. Both UW and HTK were most effective (P0 > 50% of control) in preserving muscle function.

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